The Girls Club Room has become a fixture at our National Scholastic Championships. Girls come to the room to socialize, analyze and relax between games, as Maureen Grimaud explained in Sports Illustrated. I got a chance to visit the High School National Championships edition in Schaumburg, Illinois, which featured a spirited town hall, a visit from GM Jeffery Xiong and tandem simuls with myself and WIM Carolina Blanco.
Stephanie Pitcher, who was recently elected to the Utah House of Representatives, called in to talk to parents, coaches and kids about how chess accentuated her life through high school and college. She also explained how she strategically plans every new piece of legislation like a chess master, including a new bill that prohibits the shackling of pregnant women.
Our town hall was led by Executive Director Carol Meyer and Women’s committee chair Maureen Grimaud, as we started Sunday morning with a roundtable on how to recruit and retain more girls in chess.
The Philadelphia Chess Society had a strong presence in the girls’ room, and one member, Kayla of the Minor Threats chess team won almost every prize available in the room, including our brand new US Chess Women chess boards, now available on US Chess Sales.
I hosted a series of tandem simuls with WIM Carolina Blanco, a longtime supporter of our Girls Club rooms. While playing, we projected the games of the top female seed of the event, Jennifer Yu. When Jen won the following game in round four, everyone in the room cheered.
Yu, who is our new U.S. Women’s Champion, was also granted a Scholar-Chessplayer Award for her dual commitment to chess and academics.
We also had some fun with nail polishes and Hershey Kisses, creating a variant somewhere in between blindfold and sighted chess.
The next girls room will be in Texas for the Junior High School Championship, and will feature special guests Dr. Alexey Root and WGM Katerina Nemcova.
I will be back for the Girls Club in Nashville, TN, along with Nemcova and Blanco. That schedule will also include tandem simuls, puzzle competitions and a town hall. The finalized program will be posted here and on our Women’s and Girls Calendar of Events. Hope to see some of you there!
More news on women in chess: An op-ed from Jennifer Shahade and Rex Sinquefield in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch.